The Impact of Tourism on Urban Renewal through Stakeholders’ Perspective: A Case of Post-Earthquake Urban Renewal in Kathmandu Valley in the Wake of Covid 19

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Shitu Maharjan
Nattapong Punnoi


A 7.8 magnitude earthquake and its subsequent aftershocks struck Nepal more than seven years ago on April 25, 2015, triggering a huge humanitarian disaster. The earthquake caused significant socioeconomic destruction, from which the country is yet to recover.  Currently, with the covid-19 outbreak, Nepal is engulfed in yet another unprecedented crisis. Tourism has been one of the driving forces for the urban renewal efforts in Nepal, but the epidemic has caused the industry to collapse. The purpose of this study is to recognize the effect of tourism on urban renewal projects in the wake of covid and analyze the impact of covid-19 pandemic on post-earthquake urban renewal efforts in historical commercial areas of Kathmandu Valley. For making the entire system more transparent a range of qualitative techniques is applied, including system mapping, semi-structured interviews with stakeholders and locals, to understand the urban renewal processes and their outcomes. Using the primary data, a new approach to system mapping is developed which serves as a foundation for future strategy implementation and emphasize the necessity of understanding the influence of tourism on urban renewal strategies in Kathmandu. At different stages of the involvement process, and in relation to different outcomes, the participants narrated varying and even contradictory opinions about the urban renewal activities. The findings revealed that the government of Nepal has recognized tourism to have a vital role in urban renewal activities and it has both positive and negative influence upon urban renewal which can vary widely depending upon the various dimensions of urban renewal activities. While tourism has benefited the area in terms of increasing employment and revenue, it has also had a severe influence on the town's cultural and natural resources. The economic success achieved by tourism will not be sustainable in the long run unless the negative impact caused by tourism is addressed and mitigated. Hence, based on rigorous analysis, few strategic initiatives are proposed introducing more integrated planning mechanisms to help link physical, social, cultural, economic, and environmental preservation with tourism development which includes active stakeholder collaboration.

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